V Like many parents Julian Reeback looked forward to taking his child to see his first football match.
However, the chances of experiencing such a moment after his son Jake was born with severe respiratory problems, and spent the 11 months of his life in hospital, looked unlikely.
But after numerous operations Jake was deemed well enough to go home, and eight years on Mr Reeback, a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, was able to take him to watch Spurs play .
The experience prompted Mr Reeback to set up FootieWithDad.com — a website that chronicles father-son experiences attending football matches and aims to help children with debilitating illnesses or disabilities go to games
The 46-year-old estate agent said: “During many hours, days and nights spent by Jake’s bedside one thought kept me going through the pain and struggle of it all.
“It was that one day we might watch a game at my beloved White Hart Lane, holding him aloft as we celebrated a win,”
“Fortunately, when he was eight he was well enough for me to do that and those dreams that I had all those years ago came true.”
Jake, now aged 12, has now made a full recovery from his illness.
Mr Reeback, who lives in Bushey, Hertfordshir, has enlisted Dean Holdsworth, a former Premier League player, to act as an ambassador for the website.
Former Everton players Peter Reid and Gary Stevens have shared their memories on the site.
Mr Reeback has also teamed up with the Free Kicks Foundation to encourage clubs to provide free tickets to ill, bereaved and underprivileged children.
Watford FC has donated two tickets for a disabled child and their parent to see a home game against Southampton on January 13.
Mr Reeback said: “We want people to donate more tickets and more memories. I’d really like to hear from players current and past.
“And anyone that wants to share their stories about going to football with their dad, or mum, or grandparent.
“It doesn’t matter who the family member is. It is a bonding experience regardless.”